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Pakistan government blocks proposal to import Indian drugs news
17 July 2008

Mumbai: The Pakistan government has blocked a proposal to import 400 medicines from India, following intense lobbying by local pharmaceutical industry.

Active lobbying by local pharmaceutical industry helped stall the proposal forwarded by Pakistan's commerce ministry, ahead of an expected hike of up to 40 per cent in the prices of life-saving drugs in the country.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has already issued directions that no drug produced in Pakistan should be imported.

The import of these vaccines and oncology products will continue, but Dawn said Gilani has sought justification for importing from 13 vaccines and some oncology drugs from India.

Health secretary Khushnood Lashari will meet commerce secretary Asif Shah to ensure that the proposal for importing Indian drugs is closed.

Sources in the commerce ministry had leaked information about the proposal to import Indian drugs to the local pharmaceutical industry, which used its "contacts" to pre-empt the move, the daily said.

The local industry says imports from India would threaten the jobs of over one million people, affect annual exports worth more than $120 million and compromise the availability of medicines during emergencies.

Pakistan's Rs8,300 crore pharmaceutical industry enjoys considerable political clout in the country.

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Pakistan government blocks proposal to import Indian drugs